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BBC News Vote 2001 Vote2001 | Audio Video 
Election Battles 1945-1997
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1992
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1992: Major confounds the polls
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1992: Double whammy
The Tories took Labour to pieces on tax

Watch and listen 1992
Election results from the Today Programme
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The poll tax riots in London
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BBC Radio’s newsflash of Margaret Thatcher’s resignation
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John Major gets on his soapbox
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Labour in triumphant mood at the Sheffield Rally
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Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on the campaign trail
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Manifestos
Conservatives
Cut taxes when possible
Parliament to decide on euro entry
Rail privatisation
Coal privatisation
Labour
No re-nationalisations
No repeal of trade union laws
Up higher tax rate
Opt into European Social Chapter
Bill of rights
Scottish Parliament
Liberal Democrats
1p on income tax for education
Constitutional reform
Devolution

The Conservative manifesto - The Best Future for Britain - saw the Tories stick to their traditional issues, promising tax cuts where possible and pushing further ahead with their programme of privatisations. Coal and rail were next on the list.

The theme of spreading opportunity and choice, as well as rolling back the state, ran throughout the manifesto, marking the continuity between the Thatcher and Major governments.

But Labour's 1992 manifesto presented a very different prospect to that of 1987.

A commitment to pumping money into the ailing National Health Service was there, alongside promises to raise child benefit and pensions - and the top rate of income tax.

However, several significant strides had been made taking the party closer to the political centre. Labour's backing for unilateral nuclear disarmament had been dropped. In its place was a pledge to work with other countries to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Neither was there any talk of re-nationalising what the Tories had sold off, nor of a repeal of the Tory laws passed to reduce the power of the trade unions.

Fighting their first election, the Liberal Democrats did much to give themselves a politically vital unique selling point apart from the issue of proportional representation - a marginal concern to most voters.

By choosing education and a pledge to use a 1p rise in income tax to fund investment in schools the Lib Dems gave those so inclined a clear reason to vote for them.